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Don't Sell. Tell Your Network Contacts How You Help People

We meet potential customers every day. And more importantly everyone we meet probably knows someone who may be interested in our products and services.  But how do we take advantage of all those meetings without putting people off by "selling?"
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How often have you not mentioned what you do in your business when you meet someone for the first time for fear of being seen as trying to sell?

A lot!! - I know that because people so often tell me that is so at seminars.

Well what if I could show you simple way to encourage people who are interested in your products to want to buy, whilst making sure that people who are not interested don't feel sold to. Would that be of interest to you?

OK - but please do not be deceived by the simplicity of this idea. I guarantee it will totally transform your networking skills and increase your sales.However whilst the idea is simple it does require a complete shift in your thinking and that may be much harder to achieve.

When you meet someone for the first time they will usually get round to asking "What do you do?"But how do you answer?

Most people in my experience answer with a job description – "I’m an accountant, a lawyer, sell furniture, design web sites, run a beauty salon" etc. And often that’s the end of that conversation.

Yet every time you meet someone there is a possibility that they may be a potential customer or they may know a potential customer.Unfortunately we often fail to discover that because we don’t talk about business, because we feel uncomfortable about "selling."

Of course there is another response I sometimes receive - It's called an "Elevator Pitch," and I am not a fan.If you have ever attended a speed networking session you will be familiar with this approach. Essentially an elevator pitch is a sixty second sales pitch, so called because screen writers used to jump into an elevator with a producer and pitch their idea before the doors opened at the next floor.

If I ask "what do you do" and get a sixty second sales pitch, I spend the last thirty seconds looking for an escape route. I don't like being sold to! And nor do most people in my experience

However it is possible to invite people to talk about our business in such a way that they do not feel we are trying to sell them something. Instead of talking about your product or service – which means selling, tell them how you help people.

I have different responses depending on who I am speaking to – for example "I specialise in helping small business owners to attract more customers" or "I specialise in helping women in business to become outstanding public speakers". And I finish with "do you know anyone that would be of interest to?"

Now if you are a small business owner or a woman in business would you want to know more if I said that?Of course you would. Often people respond immediately asking for more information indicating that they would like my help. If they don’t respond, then they are not a prospective customer right now, but at least they now know what I do and that means they are more likely to mention me to a friend.

If they are interested then I can arrange a follow up – "Let me have your card and I’ll call you in the week to arrange a meeting" or "take my card, go and have a look at my web site at – there’s a free ebook (in exchange for signing up for my newsletter) that might help."

Create and practice your own pre-prepared responses as follows:

I specialise in helping ………………………………(describe your target customers, who do you most want to be doing business with, or describe a category that includes the person you are speaking to.)

to ………………….(how do you help them, what problem do you solve.)

How do you tailor your response so it is most applicable to the person you are speaking to?

Easy - get into the habit of asking people what they do first and don't let a conversation die when they give you a job description.Encourage them to talk about what they do and prompt for the problems they face in doing it - especially the problems that you can solve.

People love to talk about themselves and they love people who are prepared to listen. Then they almost always ask, "What do you do?"

Me… Oh! I specialise in helping……..

If you have just spent five or ten minutes showing interest in them and what they do and you then tell them that you specialise in solving some of the problems they face - do you think they are going to want to know more?

Copyright 2006 Richelle (Rikki) Arundel, UK

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